Kamala Harris Visits Applied Materials in Sunnyvale to Talk About Semiconductor Research and Development

Kamala Harris Visits Applied Materials in Sunnyvale to Talk About Semiconductor Research and Development
Gage Skidmore - flickr
By Nina Singh-Hudson - Published on May 22, 2023.

On May 22, 2023, Vice President Kamala Harris made a stop in the Bay Area to discuss semiconductor research and development with industry leaders. During her visit, she is attending an event at Applied Materials in Sunnyvale, one of the leading semiconductor toolmakers in the world, where the company announced its plan to invest $4 billion in a new Silicon Valley chip research center, as reported by Reuters.

This major announcement comes as the US is striving to reinvigorate advanced semiconductor manufacturing with a $52 billion measure passed last year. The new facility, called the Equipment and Process Innovation and Commercialization (EPIC) Center, will be the largest and most advanced semiconductor technology facility in the world, as stated on ABC7 News. According to the company's Facebook page, it is expected to be completed in early 2026.

Applied Materials plans to invest up to $4 billion in the research center, which will be based in Sunnyvale, California. The center aims to speed up advances in semiconductor manufacturing and is projected to create up to 2,000 engineering jobs, as detailed in the Reuters report. Over its first decade, the facility will reportedly host about $25 billion worth of research work, bringing together staff members from research universities and major chipmakers such as Intel Corp, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, among others.

By putting universities and chip manufacturers under one roof with Applied Materials, the company hopes to accelerate the technology roadmap for its customers while also benefiting itself. Applied executives believe that the integration and collaboration of these groups will reduce the time it takes to turn ideas from research universities into tools used in factories by nearly a third.

The announcement of the EPIC Center comes at an interesting time, as the US tries to regain its footing in advanced semiconductor manufacturing. As mentioned earlier, the US has already passed a $52 billion measure to support this effort. According to senior administration officials who briefed the media ahead of the event attended by Vice President Harris, the Commerce Department has received over 300 statements of interest for the $39 billion portion of the CHIPS Act that is reserved for manufacturing incentives. Details on application requirements for the $11 billion designated for research facilities will be made available in the early fall.

Amidst all of this, Applied Materials has its sights set on securing government subsidies via the CHIPS and Science Act to further invest in the EPIC Center. Gary Dickerson, CEO of Applied Materials, spoke to Reuters, stating, "We're absolutely going to go forward. The scale of how fast we invest is going to be tied to the government incentives." With this in mind, the company is optimistic about the potential success and advancements that can come from the implementation of the EPIC Center.